Is the Rapture of the Church Really Found in the Bible? Introduction to the Basics – Part 1
(Ver 1.4) This is Part 1 of a series of advanced spiritual Bible lessons on the subject of “Is the Rapture of the Church a Bible Truth”. I honestly do not understand why this is such a majorly controversial subject but I can only think that Satan does not want anyone to know the truth. There are generally speaking two categories of belief types on this subject. These two groups can be divided as those that believe in a rapture event and those that do not believe in a rapture event. Why anyone would not want to believe in rapture, I do not know. I think it would be like someone not believing in salvation. But, we have a very significant number of people in the world who call themselves Christians that do not believe in a rapture event. Then we have other people that believe in a rapture event but with contradictory predicted timings for the event. Therefore the believers of the rapture can be further divided into three sub-category group types. That leaves us with Christian rapture beliefs generally falling into 4 differing realms of categories. First, there are many Christians that believe in a pre-tribulation rapture event. Second, there are definitely some that believe in a mid-tribulation rapture event. Third, there are some that believe in a post-tribulation rapture event. Finally, the fourth group is those that simply state that there is no rapture event ever revealed in the Bible. Based upon these wide ranges of opposing beliefs we can easily conclude that many Christians are obviously deceived in the church today. I mean using only basic logic and probability outcome reasoning we can easily understand that the existence of 4 such diverse positions cannot all be the truth. Technically speaking all four position groups could potentially be in error and God’s truth could remain in still another category option 5 labeled as unknown, undiscovered or unrevealed. We must always be open to the reality that God’s truth needs to be discovered or we will potentially miss it while we stagnate in our current belief. Hopefully you can understand that the greatest enemy to knowing the truth is the belief that you have already discovered it. Here again are the four major belief categories concerning current known rapture beliefs:
- Pre-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up prior to the initiation of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
- Mid-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up in the middle of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation. The Tribulation period will last for 84 total months and somewhere around 42 months the church will be taken up from the earth.
- Post-Tribulation Rapture – The belief that the church will be taken up immediately following the end of the 7 year period of time called the great tribulation.
- No Rapture – The belief that the church will remain on the earth during the tribulation. Under this belief there are also several contradictory beliefs to what will occur to the church during the 7 year period known as the great tribulation. But I left them all in one group category for now.
As you should be able to see from the list of group types, they can be divided into two basic opposing antithesis beliefs of those that believe in a rapture event versus those that do not. Then as stated earlier those that believe in a rapture event can be further sub-divided based upon the expected occurrence of the event all surrounding the timing of the great tribulation revealed in the book of Revelation. We may also discuss in this series of lessons that the no rapture believers can be sub-divided into various details of what they believe will occur while they are here on the earth. There are probably at least 3 variations of beliefs in the no-rapture belief camp. In this series of Bible lessons we will attempt to explore every known belief and give reasons why each can either be confirmed or rejected as the truth. You see every sound Christian belief should not have any major contradictions in the scriptures when all verses on the subject are rightly divided and interpreted. God is the central author of the entire Bible and we should be smart enough to understand that God does not ever contradict Himself. If we believe that we have found a contradiction then we do not understand what is being stated.
Each side in this argumentative debate claims that the other sides are the ones deceived. Each side can also further claim that from their perspective if we could only clearly see the accuracy of what they are teaching from the Bible that we would be transformed to know the truth. Everyone can use the same argument to defend their points and this is the way that God designed the Bible to allow men the right to be wrong. Do you see the problem here? What is truth? Why can’t everyone see it?
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT CHURCH BELIEFS ON RAPTURE?
Did you ever ask yourself why there are so many diverse interpretations of the Bible being taught by Christian churches on not just rapture but every subject found in the Bible? Atheists have a field day with that one bit of controversial information alone claiming this proves that Christianity is a foolish approach in life to take. Why are the Christians so divided lacking any harmony or unity in their beliefs? We really need to seek the truth and resolve why it appears that God has instigated a system of confusion in the modern church age. The early church did not start out in confusion but they also began in a much smaller number of 120 believers in the upper room being all in one accord (Acts 2:1). Since the Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33) there must be another explanation for why there are over 3000 different church denominations existing in the world today. What caused the early church to drift from one body into a divided body?
The answer to those questions rests in us understanding the existence of Satan to deceive people and man’s carnally dominated mind that is easily deceived to believe in anything. Wrong beliefs are proportionally tied to the carnal nature of the human mind. The more carnally minded one is the greater number of wrong beliefs that are found to be present. The more spiritually minded one is the greater number of right beliefs are found to be present. Which type of Christian are you? Are you a very carnal Christian or a very spiritual Christian? Usually people are somewhere in the middle of those two ranges in a state of transition, hopefully growing more spiritual. Everyone that is a Christian begins as a carnal spiritual baby. As they grow and increase in the Spirit of God and the knowledge of the Written Holy Word of God they progressively achieve a level of greater spiritual maturity. I can usually look at your Facebook wall and tell very quickly where you fall in this range on the spiritual Christian growth chart. The more you post or are focused on the natural things of this world the more carnal minded you are. The more you focus on God the Father, the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Bible the more spiritually minded you become. Where is your focus? It will determine what you can see and understand in the Bible whether you believe that or not.
In this lesson to begin we need to better understand the source for such diverse beliefs. Why are there so many contradictions where one person can see something totally opposite in the Bible than the other person can say is so very clear for them to see? I have observed this over and over in my experiences. One believer sees the rapture event so clearly and another believer cannot see it from the same verses. Why is that and how can we explain this phenomenon? Can you explain that? I’m not sure if I can explain it more clearly where you will easily understand it, but I will try. Many people believe that there is a contributing factor of deception that is at the root of the problem. I tend to agree with that belief. But what is deception, why does it occur, who causes it and who can be deceived? For example, the believers in the fourth category teach adamantly against the rapture beliefs found in the other categories calling them the false doctrine of “escapism” given to us from demons and Satan. However, every other group proclaims that they are the only ones that are completely correct and all of the other groups are the ones that are deceived. Every group has a basic set of scripture verses found in the Bible to help justify their positions. However, it is very easy to take several verses out of context and explain others away as something that is irrelevant to their stated belief position.
Deception is a very complex subject. No one that has ever been deceived knows or understands that they are deceived at any time. If they knew that they were deceived by their enemy they would more than likely abandon that false teaching very quickly. Many times hidden deception causes Christians to believe sincerely in their hearts that they are correct even while being sincerely wrong in their heads for what they believe. Do you understand heart beliefs are based upon your current level of Bible knowledge? Do you understand that you don’t know everything? In order to be 100% accurate in your beliefs you have to have 100% correct knowledge of the Bible and no one that I know qualifies for that except my God. Therefore, do you understand how wrong knowledge causes wrong beliefs? We could also say that the lack of correct knowledge causes people many wrong beliefs. The lack of correct knowledge is the main reason for what people ultimately say is the truth but actually is not. Most people teaching untruths or partial truths are teaching them believing that they are not falsehoods. This is why Christians need to confirm everything that anyone teaches by using what the Bible says with great precision and attention to every detail (Acts 17:11). Never believe me or anyone else without you seeing it in the Bible to confirm what is said. If you don’t see it then throw it away and keep moving forward with what you do see.
What I have just introduced you to in this section is the basic realities of the carnal nature versus spiritual nature of man. Every human is born as a carnal person naturally into the world and Jesus taught us that it was a necessary requirement for every carnal human being to be “born again” (John 3:3) spiritually in order to enter into the kingdom of God. The natural process of physical growth and maturity is given to us to teach us about the unseen spiritual process. These repeated patterns of how the natural works can uncover how things in the spiritual realm work. Spiritual growth is a very necessary requirement (1 Peter 2:2) according to God. This spiritual growth process helps us to explain why there are so many different beliefs existing in the church. Those that have grown in spiritual maturity can see things from a new mature perspective that a baby Christian cannot see or comprehend. As it is in the natural it is also the same in the spiritual. A 3 year old natural child cannot be found mature enough to make wise decisions on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well the spiritual food of God’s word is the exact same type of menu choices for baby Christians. Many baby Christians will fail to desire to eat their spiritual broccoli and steak in the Word of God. Baby Christians will stick with a diet of macaroni and cheese, cake and cookie scriptures and unless they learn to eat other verses that will help them to grow up spiritually strong. This is just how everything in the Bible works.
HOW TO CORRECTLY STUDY THE BIBLE ON RAPTURE
So which group of rapture/no rapture believer types do I choose to place myself? I think I have already given several clues to where I stand and I’ll say “I stand with God”. But, we will get into what the Bible actually says very soon. I also want to say that I never start studying the Bible by choosing a position first beforehand and then searching the Bible to prove that position is true. That is a very foolish approach to any correct Bible study. You can actually prove anything that you desire to find from the Bible because of God’s intentional design of the verses to provide man the right to be wrong in their beliefs. The Bible teaches us that the “carnal mind is an enemy of God” (Rom 8:7). Since every human starts out as a naturally dominated person we were all once called the enemies of God before we were saved (Col 1:21). God reveals to us in these two verses that man can have either of two opposing types of mindsets. One mind type is called the flesh, carnal or natural mind (Rom 1:28, Rom 8:5, Col 2:18) and the other opposing mind type we can call the spiritual or supernatural mind (Rom 8:27, 1 Cor 2:16, Eph 4:23). I seriously believe that these two opposing mind types are the root causes for why there are so many differing opinions on what the Bible means. We can also read about these two mind types in this verse in Romans:
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Ok, here is a secret from God being revealed. Why is it necessary for the human mind to be transformed and renewed? Did you understand my question and do you know what the answer is? I’ll tell you, mind transformation allows you to see the truth in His Word. Take the Greek word translated as “transformed” (G3339) and look up the definition in the Strong’s. It literally means “to change”, “to transfigure” or “to transform”. Then think of the story in the Gospels of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mount with Moses and Elijah. That story is an exact representation of what the Bible is teaching here. You see the Greek word G3339 is only used in those two scriptures in the N.T. We can find it being used for Jesus being changed into a supernatural being and you will find it here in Romans being referenced to Christian minds becoming the same type of spiritual being. Go and read the story of the transfiguration, it is actually a great lesson to learn from especially on the subject of the rapture. We will no doubt get there in this series at some time but probably not today. Just understand the link between transformation and transfiguration and keep that in your mind that this is what is happening as you learn the Bible.
There is an implied requirement for the supernatural to be present and applied in order to cause this transformation event to occur, but I won’t go there today. The Greek word G3339 definition also carries an association with a natural known process called “metamorphose”. Do you know what that means? Metamorphosis is a divinely created quality that is displayed in certain natural creatures like an ugly caterpillar being “transformed” into a glorious beautiful butterfly. Wow, that metamorphosis is the process that God is describing to us that needs to occur in our minds. God is saying “Take your old ugly carnal mind out of your natural gutter and renew it into the new beautiful spiritual way to think and learn to see what I have said to you in my Word”. This renewal process is not an instantaneous one-time event. You do not get zapped in your mind when you are saved and suddenly your mind can see everything in the Bible clearly. The lack of the completed mind renewal process is the primary reason that a Christian does not see the truth in the Bible like another Christian sees.
God chose to write the Bible in a way to give His children the blessed truth, but He also chose to keep these important truths from all of His enemies. How do you give one group the information that they need to know while keeping the information from another group using the same exact words on the page? I mean that concept fascinated me for a long time before God showed me what He was doing and how that He accomplished this task. I discovered that God uses a divine ingenious system of hiding information in the Bible. How does any government today keep a message secret from all of their enemies while allowing their friends to read it? They always write the message using a code. But, that is not exactly what God is doing here. You see the Bible is written in plain text words that are not encrypted to make them unreadable to God’s enemies. Any enemy of God can read the Bible and try to figure out what it says. I have alluded to this fact in many of my Bible lessons. Even though the Bible is not physically encrypted the information in it is spiritually encrypted using natural plain text words with clever plain text methods of information concealment. I call this God “Hiding the Truth in Plain Sight” and you can go and read some of these methods in that series. But, what God has done is extremely intelligent and what He has spiritually hidden from our natural minds in His Word can only be revealed in our spirits after we are saved by His indwelling Spirit living inside of us. This was a very clever method that God designed to keep the truth from His enemies and it is a very wise way to control access to important spiritual information. God comes inside of us to help us to understand His own word. Having the author of the Book on the inside is the clear advantage that we have over the unsaved world that will never know or understand what the Bible says unless they turn and repent.
Therefore, we must understand when we read and study the Bible that God intentionally designed it to prohibit the carnally minded human from observing what was intended to be revealed to only mature Christians. I know that this statement is not going to go over well with everyone that reads it. But, hopefully some will understand this explanation to why there are so many observable rapture theories in existence in the church? I have such a wide range of readers from the carnal, the very novice new Christians all the way to the advanced mature spiritual Christian, so I try to explain things so that everyone can understand what God is doing. At least I try to say things that can potentially help every group if they are open to receive it. God gives everyone freewill to find whatever truth that they want to seek in His word, whether it is right or wrong. For example, if you want to believe in abortion or homosexuality God permits you to find scriptures that justify in your mind the error of your beliefs, but He will eventually judge you for your foolishness.
If you do not understand spiritual maturity and spiritual growth then you will probably not understand why there are so many different variations of the rapture doctrine. We are all born-again as infant baby Christians when we accept Jesus as the Lord of our life. However, spiritual growth is not guaranteed. A born-again baby Christian is usually one that is very sense realm, fleshy or carnally dominated in their thoughts, emotions and actions. The opposite of a baby Christian is one that has grown to maturity and they are usually spirit and Word of God dominated and controlled ignoring their senses. How do you grow up spiritually from one to the other?
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
We must drink the milk of God’s Word. The milk represents the basic subjects in the Bible as revealed in 1 Corinthians 3:2 where Paul told the church I fed you milk and not meat because you were unable to handle it. Paul was telling the church they needed to grow up spiritually and become meat eaters. Just as a natural new-born child cannot eat any solid food, a new born spiritual baby Christian is unable to comprehend the deep complex subjects of God. Meat subjects represent the complex Bible lessons like I try to teach. God is informing us of the existence of many different levels of knowledge in His Word. The rapture of the church is one of those meat subjects in the Bible and those that are milk drinkers cannot eat it or they will choke. Now are you seeing why there are so many different teachings on the subject of the rapture?
PRESUMPTIVE ASSUMPTIONS USUALLY RESULT IN ERROR!
Presumption is one of the greatest errors found in modern Bible study. Entering into a Bible study with any pre-established beliefs and predefined expectations of the truth will almost always cause all of the other perspectives in the Bible to be blocked from your spiritual view. I call this type of Bible Study, “Tunnel Vision Bible Study” or “Bible Study Wearing Blinders”. Do you understand what blinders are? Blinders are placed on a horse or an animal to keep them narrowly focused. It restricts the vision while forcing the attention on what is desired. Well this is what is occurring in many Christians today. Think of it like this; when a crime detective enters a crime scene they usually try to come into the situation without any prejudices or pre-conceived assumptions of the truth. They should always let the evidence found on the scene point them to the truth and not the other way around. Wow, do you understand why this is an important concept to apply to our Bible study? Take a bloody crime scene with a dead body lying on the floor found with a gun their hand. If an investigator came into the scene already looking for a specific cause for example assuming a suicide this approach would automatically skew or narrow their viewpoint with suicide blinders to ignore all the other possible murder facts. If they came into the same crime scene with murder blinders on, they would automatically miss or omit any suicide truths staring them in the face. These same principles apply to Bible study, if you come into the Bible wearing a set of “no rapture” blinders you will just automatically miss all of the relevant truths that might be presented on a rapture event and vice versa.
These are all very important statements of truth that I have just taught you, so do not ignore them. A truth seeking student of the Bible must lose all of their prejudice and every pre-conceived thought of human knowledge and reasoning in order to be open to be shown the actual spiritual truth by the Spirit of God. God says in His word “Your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways” (Isa 55:8). Therefore entering into correct Bible study is us choosing to leave our old thoughts and our old ways behind us so that we can remove our blinders to see God’s superior ways clearly. Too many times learning the real spiritual truth involves us unlearning some old carnal things that we only thought was the truth. The human mind is very analogous to an empty pitcher for water concept at birth. When we are born physically into the world we enter with zero knowledge of any truth. Thus the baby human is void of all knowledge needing to be filled with correct information. As we grow in knowledge the human mind pitcher fills with information both good and bad. Take this analogy back to the “renewing” or “transformation” mind process described to us by God that we looked at earlier. A major part of this renewal process is us taking out the old bad information to replace it with the new good spiritual information of God. This would be like a person emptying a pitcher of the old stale substance in order to refill it with something new and fresh that is tastier. What you once thought was tasty truth, is potentially blocking the Spirit of God from speaking to you to open the new truth to get it into your mind pitcher. Quit trying to mix the new spiritual word of God with the old concepts of the natural. Just empty your mind of what you thought of this subject before and then continue to read and study this subject going forward. When I started the study, I chose to empty my mind to what I thought about the truth and I simply prayed and asked God to show me His truth, no matter what it was. Having this attitude allows the Holy Spirit to guide us into what we need to know. As you continue to read this lesson I would recommend that you do the same. Ask God to help open your mind to see what it is that you need to change or eliminate in order to see His spiritual truth.
IS THERE A RAPTURE FOUND IN THE BIBLE?
So since I have already done this Bible study and now I am simply writing it down for you to read, I can tell you that I am a firm believer in the pre-tribulation rapture event based upon many clear scriptures that I will use to teach how God revealed this to me. This lesson will be what the Spirit of God showed me that the Bible says on the subject of “Does the Bible say anything about a rapture event”. If you are open to His Spirit with a cleared mind He should confirm what I will teach you about this subject of the soon coming of Jesus Christ for the removal of the church.
I will begin this Bible lesson by agreeing “strongly” with the fourth group of “no rapture” believers that the word “rapture” is technically not found anywhere in the Bible. However, the absence of a modern theological term in the Bible does not eliminate the underlying foundations of the ideas, the concepts, the principles, the patterns and the message behind the modern term. Do you understand what I just said? Let me try to rephrase it in case you missed it. The non-inclusion of the word “rapture” in the Bible does not prove that the ideas behind the rapture are not clearly taught to us using other synonymous words, symbolism, types or any of the other methods of God’s authorship to encrypt or hide His spiritual information from obvious view in the Bible. In fact now that I have studied this subject, I believe that you can find the concepts of the rapture hiding in the book of Genesis and proceeding all the way through the book of Revelation.
Why do modern theological terms and titles exist today like the word “rapture” if it is not found in the Bible? Modern theological titles are simply given to complex spiritual subjects to assist the Bible teacher in teaching them. By assigning a single name or a label to a subject it makes the subject more quickly understandable, more concisely communicable and infinitely clearer to what you are speaking when you teach. Therefore, assigning a simple label is not a foreign concept but a technique that is found today in every wise teacher’s toolbox. You can go into almost any advanced math classes and see them speaking of many terms that have been invented in modern times to help the student understand the complex subject being taught. Take for instance the term “Analytic Geometry”, this terms specifies a specific type of the whole knowledge and restricts the course to only this information necessary to understand this subject. This is not rocket science people. That is all that the word “rapture” is doing by helping the teacher to restrict the subject discussion to a very specific branch of knowledge found in the Bible. Don’t get distracted by the absense of the word “rapture” in the Bible to miss the most important concepts behind the word.
Take the concept of math again and find it in the Bible. The Bible certainly contains math and mathematical concepts throughout the text. However the word “math” is never found anywhere in the Bible. Uh oh? What are we to do here? Are we to conclude that math is a false teaching originating from demons? That is basically what people are doing with the rapture. The absence of a modern theological word from the Bible does not prove that the doctrine behind the label is not an absolute truth. If that was the case then the existence of the “trinity” would be another false church doctrine. The existence of “demons” would clearly need to be eliminated from modern church teaching. Any church teaching against “abortion” or “homosexuality” would also have to be removed from our church doctrines. Finally, other eschatological concepts like the “millennium” and the “2nd Advent” would also need to be eliminated from all church teaching. None of these modern theological words that I have just mentioned occur in the Bible anywhere, however God says a lot about every one of them in the scriptures using many illustrative and creative descriptions.
I’ve heard “no rapture” preachers teach several different variations to what they believe will occur. Some say that Christians will be protected from the coming destruction on the earth during the seven year time of great tribulation like Noah was protected when God destroyed the world using a flood. Others teach that Christians will be treated the same as all of the other people on the earth and endure the great hardship equally with the unrighteous people on the earth. Some others teach that it is the evil unrighteous people that will be taken off of the earth and they call this the true rapture. I find that that teaching very bizarre that God would rapture non-believers and leave the believers to kill them. That teaching sounds satanic to me and I’ll bet Satan uses that one to help describe where all the righteous people have gone. These teachers attempt to equate Satan’s persecution of the church to be corresponding to God’s judgment during the tribulation. They try to say if the early church was put in prison, beaten and killed in the book of Acts then why, would we think that we are better than them now to not have to endure the exact same thing during the end of the church age. However, I cannot find any verse in the Bible where God judges a righteous man. I only see God as the deliverer of the righteous, our savior and our redeemer. Then inversely I only see God as being the judge of the unrighteous in the Bible. You do understand the difference between the righteous and the unrighteous, don’t you? The primary problem with this logic is that the persecution of the early church was not the work of God. Persecution in the early church was the work of Satan trying to keep the work of God from spreading. There is a major difference in who is attempting to bring death upon a man. If it is Satan you can fight that and win, but if it is God, you are done for. During the great tribulation it will be God judging the unrighteous and not the righteous and we will learn this as we continue to go through the scriptures.
RAPTURE DEFINED FROM THE DICTIONARY
Let’s begin by just searching for a basic definition of the word rapture and use that information to enlighten us for the remainder of this lesson. Since the word rapture can be found in the modern dictionary the concepts behind the word must have originated from someone somewhere. We need to understand what the word means in order to know what the possible synonyms might be that we need to search for in our Bible. I went to the internet and found these definitions of the word rapture:
Rapture: The transporting of a person from one place to another, especially to heaven.
Rapture: The English derivative of the Greek word RAPTURO, which means “to be removed quickly.”
Rapture: The act of carrying, or fact of being carried, onwards; force of movement
These were three definitions that caught my attention. I have found these concepts and definitions very interesting and informative. It sounds like the old Star Trek show principle of being “transported” from one location like the surface of a planet up to the ship Enterprise orbiting above. In this old TV show this process was being referred to as a type of “Beam Up” procedure or process. I believe that this is the message being revealed and the concepts being observed in the definition of the word “rapture”. If you have never seen the Star Trek shows that is really not a problem; however, just learn how the devil took a God concept to use it to make the Bible concept seem less spectacular, divine and more natural. Let’s review quickly the Star Trek concepts of being transported up. Here was a fictitious human machine that would take a person’s existence, life and body and instantly change their current location to a new 3-dimensional location. However if you ever watched the TV show you will understand that the people being transported were never involved in making it happen. The power of the machine that would transport a person was external and outside of the realm of influence of the human being moved. In other words no human power was involved in making it happen. In the Star Trek show the person that controlled the power of the machine in the star ship was the only one that could transport anyone from the surface of the planet. This also means that this person in control of the machine could take out anyone, even if they were not expecting to go yet. Why am I comparing a fictional TV show to the Bible event called the rapture? I believe that whatever God has created or will do that Satan will try to pervert it, disguise it, and duplicate it to make it seem absurd. Let’s look at another online reference found in Wikipedia to the rapture:
The Rapture is a term in Christian eschatology which refers to the “being caught up” discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the “dead in Christ” and “we who are alive and remain” will be “caught up in the clouds” to meet “the Lord”.
Here we have found a reference to at least one scripture verse and we have another synonymous term to consider and place in our vocabulary. So far we have “transport” and “caught up” and both of those are similar to the Star Trek concept of being beamed up to the ship. There is a definitive implication found in the information in the definitions of the word “rapture” that it means a “taking of people by force or power” to relocate them physically. Let me give you a list of possible synonymous terms that could apply to this basic foundational concept found in the word rapture.
- Transport Up/Out/Away
- Caught Up/Out/Away
- Taken Up/Out/Away
- Catch Away
- Gathered Up/Out/Away
- Seize Up/Out/Away
- Pluck Up/Out/Away
- Pull Up/Out/Away
- Extract Up/Out
- Convey Away
- Remove Up/Out
- Snatch Up/Out/Away
- Depart Up/Out/Away
- Ascend Up/Away
I believe these are all valid phrasings for synonymous terms of the word “rapture”. I could use any of these phrases in place of the word “rapture” and the message would be interchangeable. Why is it important to understand that there are so many ways to say the exact same thing? It is primarily because God does this frequently in the Bible. Using several different synonymous words is a great way to hide information for you to find. You see many of the “rapture” critics believe it is a false teaching simply because they have not read any obvious scriptures to support it. They claim that it requires at least 2 or 3 confirming scriptures to establish a church doctrine of truth and I totally agree with that statement. However, two different witnesses in a court case can say the same thing using many different words and descriptions and both can be describing the exact same event from their perspective of view.
Let me give you a quick example of what I am saying. When I was a young man walking home from high school as I usually did, I noticed two very young boys up ahead of me on the same side of the road as I was walking. They appeared anxious and wanted to cross the street to get to the other side, but there were cars coming in both directions. Suddenly one boy thought the street was clear as the last car on his side of the road passed by and started running to cross to the other side. This child could not see what I could see. I could see the oncoming car that he could not observe because of the car that had just passed on his side was blocking his view. Well the oncoming car hit the boy and traffic immediately stopped. The boy lay in the road badly hurt. The driver that hit him never saw him run in front because he also was blocked from the children’s view by the cars in the oncoming lane. Well everyone had a different perspective of the same event and everyone could be a witness to it in court. But we would all be describing it from much different view points than the other witnesses. Do you understand what I am saying? God’s witnesses many times use different perspectives to the same events. Because they are worded slightly different does not prove that they are not all accurate and that they are not all true.
We are going to have to use a level of intelligence to see that each witness is describing the same event even though what was said was not exactly using the same words. I probably did not do justice to all of the possible synonyms for the word rapture. If you can think of others that are also valid please share them with me and I will add them to the list.
BIBLE RAPTURE BASIC CONCEPTS
Since we have two basic opposition positions for the existence of a rapture event we need to learn what the Bible actually says on the subject. Learning the very basic concepts of any subject always logically precedes learning any of the advanced information on the same subject. So that is where we are going next with the rapture Bible study to find the simple truth basics. Jesus taught us many of these basic truths in the Gospels, but we need to find them first, understand those second and then we need to learn how to apply them correctly to the subject of the rapture last. I taught you in other lessons that correct Bible study is like a complex puzzle solving process. Therefore, in order to view the correct big picture on the rapture subject we need to make sure that we have gathered, organized and put together all of the smaller detail type of puzzle pieces together correctly. We will transition into fact gathering mode and not jumping into any conclusions at this initial phase of the study. We are going to back up to view one of the very basic Bible themes taught by Jesus consistently first and then use that evidence to help our Bible interpretation of the existence of any coming detailed rapture information. We are going to let the Bible interpret itself, before we decide if the rapture is not found in the Bible or attempt to place the timing of the rapture correctly. What we will be looking for are hidden patterns in the statements of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not understand the concepts of patterns then that is probably one reason why you don’t believe in the rapture. A pattern is simply a description using words other than the direct mention of a subject but still conveying the general message of the subject. Let’s review some Bible basics taught by Jesus:
Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Here for example, Jesus makes a strong recommendation to everyone. Jesus, speaking prophetically said that most of the world will choose to follow in a wide path to their own destruction and that only a few will find the narrow path that leads them to life. Therefore we can clearly see the existence of two possible outcomes based upon the determining factor of the personal human freewill choice being selected. These two eventual outcomes were either life or destruction and those that find life are not destroyed and those that are destroyed miss out on life. But, let’s take that statement into context with what Jesus was talking about. Jesus was making a clear separation between two antithesis groups of people/humanity. Does this concept sound familiar? Are you looking for rapture patterns? What exactly is rapture? From what I have learned studying the subject, rapture is the taking of a select group of people from a larger group of other people that are left. The raptured group’s results are much different than the group that are left. What Jesus was describing to us here in Matthew 7:13-14 is the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous people in the world using a pathway symbolic analogy. The righteous are therefore, following a path to obtain life and the other unrighteous are following a path to an end of destruction and death. Uh oh? What about that pattern? Take that very basic scriptural information and apply it to the two main stated positions on the rapture. The “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” group claims that the righteous will be taken out prior to all of the death and destruction about to occur in the 7 years of great tribulation. The other group of “No-Rapture” believers primarily teaches that the righteous will be found to be present during the death and destruction being poured out on the world during the 7 years of great tribulation. Which position or belief conforms more precisely to what Jesus was teaching us in the pathway illustration? Are the righteous Christians, going to go through the great tribulation to experience death and destruction or are the righteous removed from the coming death and destruction to obtain their life everlasting? Wow, I pray that you are awake!
Maybe we need to do a quick overview study on the book of Revelation first. You see the horror, terror and death described to us in this book during this 7 year time period from chapter 4 until chapter 19 is so strong that it can clearly be associated with only mass destruction. From how I read the book, I can see very few individuals during this time that will obtain this salvation or life. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying; there is the mention of 144,000 witnesses and others that will be martyred in Revelation. But I believe that these people that are mentioned are those that thought they were Christians but have been left behind and suddenly realized too late that that they were wrong. Jesus actually teaches us another very important parable to consider, reflect upon and to relate into our study:
Mat 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
Mat 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
Mat 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Mat 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Mat 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
Mat 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Mat 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
Mat 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
This is such a great passage to study. It has so many deep things from God hidden in it that it will amaze you when you can see them. Reading the Bible is never studying the Bible, but studying the Bible does involve some reading. One of the keys to understanding any verse is to look up the original language definitions of the words given. This is a tremendous mistake to assume that you understand what a word means and then walk away with the incorrect meaning believing you are correct. That is one of the easiest ways that deception can occur. I actually want to talk about the last verse first. This verse gives us a very basic truth. Jesus said I’m coming but you will not know when I come. Using this information we know that Jesus will return at a time that we do not fully comprehend. Ok, using that information how can anyone say that Jesus will return for us at the end of the tribulation or at the middle of the tribulation? Both of these belief positions are at pre-determined set times. We understand that the total length of the tribulation is a 7 year set period of time. This was called the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. If the rapture occurs 3.5 years or 42 months after the beginning everyone would know when the rapture would occur and be ready for it. That does not fit the parable does it? The same is true for the post tribulation belief. After 7 years or 84 months of tribulation everyone still alive would instantly know when the rapture would occur. Both of these belief positions are very weak when compared with scriptures like the foolish/wise virgins.
My next point that I would like to make is God’s usage of one very specific Greek word that I found absolutely essential for us to see. The Greek word G1831 is used twice in this parable in verse 1 and verse 5. This word from the Strong’s definition has the following meaning:
From G1537 and G2064; to issue (literally or figuratively): – come-(forth, out), depart (out of), escape, get out, go (abroad, away, forth, out, thence), proceed (forth), spread abroad.
This is a very interesting Greek word originating from two other Greek words. The first Greek root word means origin as in the point where motion or actions proceeds (from or out). The second Greek root word means to “come” or “go”. Combining these two words together gives us the possible meanings in the Strong’s definition as “escape”, “get out”, “go forth”, “go out”, etc. Does any of this sound like the synonymous terms for rapture to you? Isn’t that what the “no rapture” group is criticizing the other rapture believers for buying into the doctrine of “escapism”? Any time you can escape from danger, peril, jeopardy, hazards, traps, evil, death or destruction you have been delivered from it. I am not going to teach you the entire parable of the 10 virgins today, because I do not have that much time. We are just going to look for keys and patterns to understanding the existence of the rapture in the Bible.
For the next point I would like to say that this teaching of the 10 Virgins by Jesus does not match with the previous teaching where Jesus said wide is the path and many there are that will go that way. Therefore we are either viewing two different events or two different perspectives of the same event. Here in this parable Jesus is again comparing two groups of contrasting people but here He divides them into two equal halves. Therefore we do not have a direct match to what Jesus was talking about in the path analogy. In the 10 Virgin Parable, both groups are called virgins and start out with the same identical oil and lamps, but 5 of them run out of oil and miss the coming of the Lord. There is still a division that takes place between two groups, but these cannot be the righteous and the unrighteous. I see this parable as speaking only about Christians and the saved church. Christians are called the light of the world by Jesus (Mat 5:14). If you read the book of Revelation chapter 2 when Jesus talks to the 7 churches He mentions candlesticks twice. One mention in verse 1 is a symbolic reference to the 7 churches with each being a candlestick light to the world. Then in Verse 5 Jesus warns one church at Ephesus to beware or their candlestick will be removed. Did you get the symbolism? The removal of a candlestick is symbolic of the removal of a light. What did Jesus say in Matthew? Jesus said you are the light of the world. Do you also see the symbolism being repeated in the 10 Virgin Parable? The running out of oil causes the lamp to go out. The parallels are very significant here and I pray that you see them.
According to what we read from Jesus, he said the righteous will find life, we should be able to conlclude logically that in the 10 Virgin parable these were all saved Christians at one time but that half of them made foolish choices to run out of oil and missed the coming of the Bridegroom to enter into the wedding feast! Consider the fact that all 10 virgins are waiting and looking for Christ to come. What does that teach us? Are we looking for Christ to come or for the anti-Christ to come? If the church was going through the tribulation then they would be looking for the coming anti-Christ and not the coming of the actual bridegroom Christ. This pattern found in the 10 virgin parable only fits with a pre-tribulation expection rapture event and no other belief works. Using this parable the pre-tribulation coming of the bridegroom is the only possible harmoneous belief that can be possible. Every other belief of a post-trib, mid-trib or even a no rapture belief will not fit with the parable pattern information given. Wow, these are such important patterns to decode. Spend time in researching them. Figure out what the oil represents symbolically. Let’s keep moving and continue to learn some more kingdom of heaven simple basics taught by Jesus:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Jesus repeatedly taught the concept of separation and division between two opposing groups. Here again in this parable is a lot of truth that contains many of the puzzle pieces but not the complete picture diagram of the whole subject. Jesus just said that the wheat will be “gathered” into His barn but that the tares will be burned (destroyed) with fire (Mat 13:25-30). I want you to notice the basic concept taught to us here in these verses. I also want you to ignore figuring out the timing for this for now. There is a definite subject of “gathering” that takes place by the reapers. “Gathered Up” is a synonymous term from our list for a type of rapture. The reapers gathering in their crops to harvest is the basic premise being communicated symbolically and it is mentioned twice here. Can we at least agree that the concept given sounds like a type of rapture? It does to me whether you choose to see it or not.
If you read the verses closely you will notice a very distinct problem emerging. These verses say that the tares will be gathered “first” before the wheat is gathered into the barn. Of course we will talk about this in more depth later because these verses are often used by the “no rapture” teachers to prove that the wicked tare people rapture (gathering) must occur first before the good righteous wheat people are gathered from the earth. However, that is simply one common misunderstood position or one erroneous interpretation of misapplied information but that is not the entire truth on the subject. We are required to balance all of the facts and not just try to take some limited information and make them more important than any other information on the subject. Just try to learn the concept basics right now and then we will try to figure out the details later.
Mat 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
Mat 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Mat 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
Mat 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
Mat 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
Mat 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Mat 13:43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
If you read closely the explanation of the parable in Matthew 13:37-43 you will surely see more of the basic symbolism being defined. We can learn from the description that Jesus was the sower of the good wheat seed. We further learn that the enemy Satan was the sower of the tare seed. Jesus teaches us that the wheat represents one good group of people and that the tares represent a distinct separate evil group of people all growing together in the same field (the world). The group of wheat represents the saved righteous people in the church and the other tares that are destroyed in the fire are the wicked unrighteous people of the earth. Which group are you in? I’m wheat myself. Therefore, I’m not ever burned. Ok, the harvesters we are informed are the angels of God. Then in this discourse Jesus also says that this event being described occurs at the end of the world. Uh oh? When is that? I believe that this is referring to the end of the millennium also called the prophesied 1000 year long day of rest when the righteous rule the earth. Therefore, this description given by Jesus cannot be talking about a pre-tribulation rapture event. Did you know that is so very true and that I totally agree with that statement? This is exactly why many of the “no rapture” teachers teach that there can be no rapture until the end of the world comes and the wicked are removed from the earth first. However, that is where I depart from their erroneous theory.
You see they are neglecting to understand that there can be more than one rapture event in the Bible being described. Anything that God can do once, God can do as many times as He desires. If you study the Bible correctly you will find that there have been at least 4 or 5 rapture events that have already occurred and we will list them in detail later as we study. Then we must understand that there will be coming 2, 3 or more rapture events that must still come to pass and that these are all separate and distinct events occurring at different set times. Therefore, Jesus here in this lesson is speaking and describing one rapture event that cannot be mixed with any another rapture event but it does help us prove that they can occur for God’s purpose. You see if one “rapture” is possible at any time then more than one is also highly possible. Are you God? Some Bible teachers think they are God. They try to tell God what He can and cannot do and they sound like fools doing that. So understand this concept, there has been several rapture events that have already occurred and there are more yet to come. Do not get into a single threaded interpretation of all events being the same event. What we must do is to see all of the facts and not just take one truth attempting to make it the whole truth. What Jesus just described cannot be a description of the pre-tribulation rapture event, but that still does not mean that there is not one of those that can still occur. Did you hear what I just said? Is your brain engaged in this study and have you learned anything so far? We are still studying the basics of the subject and I just gave you some very important clues to learn from. Let’s continue with another set of basic information from Jesus:
Mat 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Here is a set of popular scripture verses describing another rapture type of event. The term being described here is again called a “gathering” of the nations. Remember that term and then understand that it is the exact same key word phrase (G4863) of “gathering” given to us in the parable of the wheat and tares. Here God is using a different type of symbolism to describe some very similar concepts. “Gathering” wheat or sheep is the same general act of power and force. Neither the sheep nor the goats make a request to be gathered or to be separated from each other and these acts occur outside of the realm of their influence or control. Do you understand how these very basic principles being described are similar to a rapture event? These are clear divinely originated plans from God not originating from any man. The act of separating the sheep from the goats is practically identical to the separation of the wheat from the tares. The concept parallels between these two descriptions are outstandingly similar and are linked together by God’s choice of the same Greek word translated as “gathered”. What we are observing is God’s usage of a synonymous word for rapture. It is described to be a gathering together as well as a separating from. Both of these acts occur simultaneously by God’s design. We have just reviewed some of the very basic information on rapture revealed and taught by Jesus in the Bible. I do not know why you would read these verses and not believe that rapture is possible even if you do not yet understand all of the timings of any of the rapture events.
Thank you for your time in reading this first lesson in the series about the rapture. We have really only touched on some very introductory basics but in doing this I believe that I have also introduced you to several new things to consider. I believe that we need to begin to understand that there is more than one possible rapture event that could occur. You see many read the Bible and only see one event and think that is the only event. Take for instance the flood of Noah. This is widely taught as a universal flood that wipes out all life except for those in the ark. However, reading in Genesis 1 we should be able to see that there was another universal flood that was also mentioned. What we learn is that God uses repeated patterns in the Bible. Patterns are a widely used concepts displayed throughout the Bible. What God has done before is typically what God will cause to happen again. We learn this concept from verses like Ecclesiastes 1:9. We need to fully learn how God operated in the past in order to understand how God could possibly operate in the future. Please come back and read the next lessons in this series. We will cover a lot more imformation that is critical to understand. God Bless you until then!
If you would like to continue the study of this subject you may go to “Part 2” now.
Posted on August 26, 2012, in Bible Study, Rapture, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Prophecy, Rapture, Religion, Revelation, Spirituality, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.